Defying the Taboo of Prejudice: Examination of the linguistic strategies used by two British generations when constructing attitudes towards immigrants in a non-prejudiced way
Kelso 2011 MA.pdf (203.1Kb)
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Previous forays into the study of prejudiced attitudes towards immigrants have revealed mixed findings in a particular country at any given time. Within survey studies, younger cohorts have been shown to be less prejudiced than their elder counter parts. This study adopts a new approach to assess how two British generations construct prejudiced attitudes towards immigrants in an interview context; during a time when it is socially unacceptable to openly express prejudiced views. Discourse analysis was conducted on extracts from a corpus of data with particular attention paid to the linguistic features of the respondents talk. It was shown that speakers use many strategies within their language to achieve three specific goals which allowed them to appear non-prejudiced. The objective of downplaying prejudice views was achieved via the ‘use of the word just’, ‘modification strategies’ and strategic phrases to ‘transfer views to other people’. Prioritizing the host country was achieved via the use of ‘repetitions’, ‘imperatives’ and ‘economic justifications’. The final goal of negative other presentation was achieved via ‘techniques for quantification’ and ‘assigning stereotypical attributes’. It is also shown that while participants orientated towards the taboo of a generation gap in prejudiced views, discourse analysis revealed the contrary with similar features being used by both age groups. The current findings contrast with past survey studies which reveal a generation gap in prejudiced views amongst recent cohorts and their elder counterparts. Possible interpretations of the findings, in addition to the implications of the design of the study are discussed.